Families and friends of four Pepperdine College students who were killed when speeding driver Fraser Bohm crashed into them break down as they erect memorial – and demand Malibu officials fix deadly stretch of Pacific Coast Highway
A month after a speeding driver killed four Pepperdine College students on Malibu’s Pacific Coast Highway, loved ones held a vigil to remember the young women.
Family and friends gathered Tuesday evening in a parking lot along the treacherous road where 58 people have died since 2010.
Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams were murdered last month. Fraser Bohm, 22, was reportedly driving at 170 km/h in a 70 km/h zone when he lost control of his BMW and crashed into three parked vehicles, hitting the girls.
Cars sped past as mourners spoke, drowning out their trembling voices. Bridget Thompson, a close friend, said: ‘They were four of the most ambitious, loving, selfless and kind people we had ever encountered.
“Now I stand here before you with four huge holes in my heart and trying to figure out how to live a life without them.”
Loved ones gathered along the Pacific Coast Highway Tuesday evening to honor the four Pepperdine College students killed last month
Ghost tapes were decorated with the young women’s names and notes from friends and family
Among the lives lost were Niamh Rolston (left) and Peyton Stewart (right) who were killed by a driver accused of driving at 170 km per hour in a 70 km per hour zone.
Ashlyn Weir (left) and Deslyn Williams (right). The four girls were walking along the highway when a driver crashed into parked cars, killing them
Three of the young women were her roommates.
“I stood on the side of PCH until 3 a.m., screaming, crying and begging my best friends to be okay,” Thompson said.
“So who do we accuse of murder if it is not an action that kills hundreds of people, but an act of negligence?”
Thompson and concerned community members are urging Caltrans to take action to limit the number of deaths on PCH.
This includes the stretch of road that has been grimly nicknamed ‘Dead Man’s Curve’ due to its frequent collisions.
The Malibu City Council has asked residents to write to Gov. Gavin Newsom demanding that Caltrans lower the speed limit to residential speeds, install cameras and impose higher fines for speeding.
“I stand here today and know it could have been me. I went everywhere with these girls. That was the only time I wasn’t with them,” Thompson said.
“I ask that you stand here with me today and every day to slow down PCH, the road that took my best friends in one brutal blow.”
Barry Stewart, Peyton’s father, spoke about the dozens of deaths and more than 2,500 injuries that have occurred on the road over the past thirteen years.
Bridget Thompson, a close friend, described the young women as “four of the most ambitious, loving, selfless and kind people”
Thompson and other community members are urging Caltrans to take action to limit the number of deaths on PCH
The commemoration was organized by Streets are For Everyone, a non-profit organization that joined forces with locals to form the Fix PCH Action Team
He pointed to a 2015 state-ordered study that recommended 130 improvements.
“This morning I learned that 11 of those 130 recommendations have been implemented,” Stewart said.
He added, “Every 8.7 months, an average of three people die on Malibu PCH. That math doesn’t work. Restore PCH.’
The commemoration was organized by Streets are For Everyone (SAFE), an advocacy group that has joined forces with local people to form the Fix PCH Action Team.
SAFE has organized the installation of ghost bikes and ghost tires for others who have died in car accidents. A few days earlier, the group organized a vigil for a man who was murdered in Hollywood.
During Tuesday’s event, attendees placed four white tires along the road, decorated with the girls’ names and notes from family and friends.
Mourners held bouquets of white flowers and wiped tears from their eyes.
Fraser Bohm, 22, was charged with four counts of murder and four counts of gross manslaughter
The red BMW involved in the fatal crash was given to Bohm on his 18th birthday. He has pleaded not guilty and was released on $4 million bond in October
Asha (left) and Niamh (right) are pictured in their student union colors just days before the crash that killed them and their two friends
Earlier that day, cBoard officials met with Caltrans to discuss improvements to minimize risks on the highway.
OOn Monday alone, two separate car crashes on the PCH resulted in five hospitalizations.
Bohm, the 22-year-old charged in the deaths of the four young women, has been out of jail since October, when he was released on a $4 million bond.
He is charged with four counts of murder and four counts of gross manslaughter, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Bohm faces multiple life sentences if convicted. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 15.